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Attorney honored by park board

Clubhouse to bear Watson’s name

January 4, 2012
By WARREN SCOTT - Staff writer , The Herald-Star

WELLSBURG - Attorney Bill Watson is no stranger to Brooke Hills Park, and patrons of the park, be they local residents or out-of-town visitors, soon will know of him.

That's because the Brooke County Park and Recreation Commission, which oversees the park, has named the park's clubhouse for him.

Cathy Hervey, the board's president; and Janice McFadden, the park's manager; revealed the facility will be known as the William E. Watson Clubhouse in a surprise announcement during the board's Christmas dinner.

Article Photos

Warren Scott
SPECIAL?HONOR– The Brooke County Park and Recreation Commission, which oversees Brooke Hills Park, has named the park’s clubhouse for attorney Bill Watson in appreciation of his many years of volunteer service to the park. On hand for the announcement were, from left: park commission members Joan Simonetti Beck, John Casinelli and Henry Tarr, Watson, park commission members Paul Lish, Cathy Hervey and Walter Ferguson; Janice McFadden, the park’s manager; and park commission member Vicki Lightner.

On behalf of the park commission, the two presented to Watson a plaque and a green fleece blanket with the park's initials in gold letters.

Watson, who served on the park commission for several years before volunteering his legal services to the board for more than 15 years, said he was "totally surprised and totally honored by the news."

He said it's an honor to be associated with the park, which he called "the gem of Brooke County. I think people of Brooke County can be proud of it for a long time to come."

Watson said he has loved the park since he came to Wellsburg more than 50 years ago.

A native of Jane Lew, W.Va., Watson is a graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College, where he met his wife, Mara; and the George Washington University School of Law, which he attended on a scholarship.

Watston said he and Mara, who have two grown children and two grandchildren, have found Wellsburg and Brooke County to be a friendly place to live.

"It's always been. That's why we've stayed all these years," he said.

Watson said he's enjoyed working over the years with various park board members, including the late Tom Boyd, an early advocate for the park whom he called "the father of the park," and has seen various changes there, with the Brooke Hills Playhouse being a mainstay.

He joked that it will be fun telling people "I'll meet you at the Watson" in reference to the clubhouse.

McFadden said Watson's expertise has been invaluable, particularly as she and other park officials negotiated and interacted with officials from Chesapeake Energy this year.

The company has been drilling for natural gas in the underground Marcellus shale formation from the park.

While mineral rights for much of the park are owned by descendants of the Gist family, who donated it to the county 40 years ago, the park commission has received $750,000 for signing a lease with Chesapeake.

"You can pick up the phone, ask (Watson) a question and he always has an answer. There's just not enough thank yous in the world for everything he's done for the park," McFadden said.

Past park commission president Henry Tarr said, "Everything that we've done, we've always asked Watson for advice. He's been behind the park for years."

Hervey said of Watson, "He truly loves this park. His heart is with it, and he's truly a gentleman."

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)

WELLSBURG - Attorney Bill Watson is no stranger to Brooke Hills Park, and patrons of the park, be they local residents or out-of-town visitors, soon will know of him.

That's because the Brooke County Park and Recreation Commission, which oversees the park, has named the park's clubhouse for him.

Cathy Hervey, the board's president; and Janice McFadden, the park's manager; revealed the facility will be known as the William E. Watson Clubhouse in a surprise announcement during the board's Christmas dinner.

On behalf of the park commission, the two presented to Watson a plaque and a green fleece blanket with the park's initials in gold letters.

Watson, who served on the park commission for several years before volunteering his legal services to the board for more than 15 years, said he was "totally surprised and totally honored by the news."

He said it's an honor to be associated with the park, which he called "the gem of Brooke County. I think people of Brooke County can be proud of it for a long time to come."

Watson said he has loved the park since he came to Wellsburg more than 50 years ago.

A native of Jane Lew, W.Va., Watson is a graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College, where he met his wife, Mara; and the George Washington University School of Law, which he attended on a scholarship.

Watston said he and Mara, who have two grown children and two grandchildren, have found Wellsburg and Brooke County to be a friendly place to live.

"It's always been. That's why we've stayed all these years," he said.

Watson said he's enjoyed working over the years with various park board members, including the late Tom Boyd, an early advocate for the park whom he called "the father of the park," and has seen various changes there, with the Brooke Hills Playhouse being a mainstay.

He joked that it will be fun telling people "I'll meet you at the Watson" in reference to the clubhouse.

McFadden said Watson's expertise has been invaluable, particularly as she and other park officials negotiated and interacted with officials from Chesapeake Energy this year.

The company has been drilling for natural gas in the underground Marcellus shale formation from the park.

While mineral rights for much of the park are owned by descendants of the Gist family, who donated it to the county 40 years ago, the park commission has received $750,000 for signing a lease with Chesapeake.

"You can pick up the phone, ask (Watson) a question and he always has an answer. There's just not enough thank yous in the world for everything he's done for the park," McFadden said.

Past park commission president Henry Tarr said, "Everything that we've done, we've always asked Watson for advice. He's been behind the park for years."

Hervey said of Watson, "He truly loves this park. His heart is with it, and he's truly a gentleman."

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)

 
 

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